NOTE: In the morning of Eeb. 25, 2010, I called TSBOE member Cynthia Dunbar to discuss the textbook controversy and the role of the board in revisionist history. Ms. Dunbar told me that she is one of seven conservatives on the 15-member board. Their continual challenge, she said, is to garner the support of the eighth board member to comprise a majority to be able to vote down revisionist proposals that come from liberal committees. Ironically, she noted, 10 members of the board are Republicans; but most often, one of the moderate Democrats is the eighth vote. They have had significant successes, she noted, in keeping traditional history in place. They got Christmas back into the textbooks, for example, she said, though the board did compromise to put in Dewali. The next vote will take place in March, with adoption to be made in May. In either of those votes, she said, revisions could come forward again; so it is important for her and the conservatives to remain vigilant (and in the majority). Ms. Dunbar appreciates our support; and she encouraged me to email again to the SBOE support address, though we confirmed in our phone conversation that she had not received a copy of the letter I sent Feb. 18 to Dr. Morrow.
Here, then, is a letter emailed Feb. 26, 2010 to all members of Texas State Board of Education, thanking those who vote to preserve traditional, patriotic American history in school textbooks.
Dear Ms. (Cynthia) Dunbar and members of the Texas State Board of Education, in particular,
Ken Mercer, Terri Leo, David Bradley, Barbara Cargill, Don McLeroy, Gail Lowe and Geraldine Miller:
Thank you for all you accomplish to preserve a traditional, patriotic presentation of American history, especially in the face of revisionist pressures. I applaud your ongoing efforts to maintain for students what former President Ronald Reagan calls "an informed patriotism ...an unambivalent appreciation of America."
Well educated in the public schools and state university systems, I come from a family of educators. I believe that American history grounds us in our homes, our communities, our nation and the world; and it is vital that students from kindergarten through graduation learn key age-appropriate and expanding American history concepts in order to develop a mature understanding of our unique experience and place among the nations of the world.
We Americans share an exceptional heritage that began with a quest for personal freedom and traces now from our families to nearly every other country – an experience of trial, courage, commitment and achievement in which all of our students have the right and privilege to participate.
Students should have the opportunity to gain a full understanding of their troubled but beautiful American identity. They need to know that people like them have acted with values of justice rooted in a tradition of faith and clear thinking, and based in a strong Constitution, to right our country's greatest wrongs and take her repeatedly from crises to new heights of greatness. At the beginning, our country's leaders grounded the Constitution, and acknowledged the source of their greatness, in gratitude to God for His many blessings and good guidance. As our U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black's web site affirms today, our First Amendment separates church and state, but not God and state.
These are concepts our students need to learn (and we need to uphold) in order to esteem their own families and communities, their nation and themselves. One cannot love what one does not know. Hire teachers who know and love American history. Give them sound textbooks. Teach our students traditional, patriotic American history. Give them the chance to know and love their country.
Thank you for your consideration.
I pray for your guidance.
Nancy E. Thoerig
Mount Savage, MD